I've got a pretty long PDF form from my ISP and filled it carefully. Willing to save my work of filling it I've tried to use File - Save a copy.... But Evince says it can't save it because it is "encrypted". Ridiculous! What a nut has came to the idea to edit-protect a document explicitly meant to be edited? Whatever...

Is there a way to bypass the protection? It looks obvious that if I can view its contents it is "decrypted" on load and it's just a matter of intention for the viewing application to honour or dishonour the restriction. I suppose it would be natural for a free software to provide the decision to the user.

I don't want to loose my work. Of course I can print-to-file (if printing is not forbidden for this PDF - I wouldn't be surprised if it is) but I want to send it to a colleague to finish filling some fields I don't know what to write in - I wouldn't like to make her to refill the whole form.

I understand it is probably impossible to save the work now, but feel like there is to be a solution to prevent this in future: maybe an Evince patch or a compilation option, a record in its config file... or an alternative PDF viewer?

Update: I have installed the Adobe brand Acrobat Reader (9.5.1) and it has no problems saving the filled form, while indicating (in the window title) the file is "secured".

  • Print to file? Especially .pdf file? I have that option under KDE, but I don't know if it is default or not. Also I have an option 'Save copy', which works wonders when a normal 'Save' is refused. I am using Okular.
    – jippie
    Jun 21, 2012 at 20:10
  • @jippie - "Print to file? Especially .pdf file?" - it works, but the resulting file is not editable (not a form) (I wished a colleague to fill some more fields of the form later), moreover, there are PDFs which forbid printing the same way (and other thing which can be forbidden is copy to clipboard function). "Also I have an option 'Save copy'" - me too, and that's what I am trying to do, no luck in this particular case :-(
    – Ivan
    Jun 21, 2012 at 21:04
  • As far as I recall, you need to patch evince to tell it to ignore protection bits. Yes, it's silly. Jun 21, 2012 at 23:33
  • Alternatively, where in the PDF sources can I find where the saving is "forbidden"?
    – quazgar
    Nov 30, 2020 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


Use a different tool to open the PDF. kpdf is one example. There you can disable "Follow DRM". Afterwards you can save protected PDFs.


See if the advice offered here solves your problem: http://www.wikihow.com/Unsecure-a-Secure-PDF-File

  • 5
    Please don't just post links; include some context so that should the linked site go down there is helpful information available here.
    – jasonwryan
    Sep 17, 2012 at 5:07

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